Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

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Phaing
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Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby Phaing » 08 Sep 2017 05:45

The frustration is mine. I am sure the information is out there, somewhere, but ever since Goolge went loopy it isn't fun plugging away anymore.

Wiki "reliably" :roll: informs me that there were 126 Armored Cars with the Italians in East Africa in 1940... but that just does not compute. My own guesswork leads me to believe that there would have had to be 60 x Lancias, 30 x Fiat 611s and 36 x AB-40 to make up those numbers. That is a huge proportion of the production runs for each type, and my gut tells me that none of the AB-40 would have made it to Eritrea by June of 1940.

But, maybe I am wrong about that last thing, 24 out of 100 of the M11/39 were there, and that would seem like an even longer stretch, so...

But honestly, does anyone know what qualified as an armored car in that theater? The German Company is supposed to have improvised a few, maybe the Colonial Police did the same thing.
Maybe somebody bolted iron plates to a truck-mounted 75mm AA gun, and called it good?

There does not seem to be much interest in that whole theater, thus the frustration, I suppose.
Maybe I did it wrong, but a search here lead to a page of references that didn't have anything much to do with the place itself.

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Re: Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby jwsleser » 10 Sep 2017 14:09

Phaing

Le operzioni in Africa orientale (the Italian official history) states "126 autoblindo (o autocarri attrezzati con appositi scudi)" (tomo 1, page 38). Basically '126 armored cars (or lorries equipped with special shields)'. IBWs field conversions of trucks in theater.

I will look in Gli autoveicoli da combattimento dell'Esercito italiano to see how many actual armored cars were present. I know there were a number Lancia lZm in the A.O.I.

Pista! Jeff
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Phaing
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Re: Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby Phaing » 11 Sep 2017 03:53

jwsleser wrote:...
I will look in Gli autoveicoli da combattimento dell'Esercito italiano to see how many actual armored cars were present. I know there were a number Lancia lZm in the A.O.I.

Pista! Jeff


Thanks, this theater is so obscure... more so than it ought to be.
They made a stronger stand than MacArthur did in the Philippines, that much is certain.

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Re: Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby jwsleser » 11 Sep 2017 16:50

Phaing

I have scanned Gli autoveicoli da combattimento dell'Esercito italiano tomo 1 to see what I could find.

Lancia lZm - Definitely 13 in theater in 1940. This is based on the license numbers and where they were assigned. 32 vehicles were used during the Ethiopian War. I don't know if all those vehicles remained in theater, or whether some were withdrawn and sent to Spain. I assume that any vehicles left in the A.O.I. would have had their license numbers transferred to the A.O.I., so likely the additional vehicles were withdrawn.

The 13 vehicles were organized as the 1a Squadriglia Speciale autoblindo "S" with 3 sections of 4 vehicles and one in reserve.

Fiat 611. 11 in theater organized as the 2a Squadriglia Speciale autoblindo "S". Two sections of 5 vehicles and one in reserve.

That is all I have found.

Pista! Jeff
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Phaing
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Re: Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby Phaing » 11 Sep 2017 21:08

jwsleser wrote:That is all I have found.

Pista! Jeff


Thanks :D , that was more than I had.

At most, 43 out of 126 accounted for... wow.
The extra Lancia could have been put in mothballs in-theater, they had over 100 aircraft just sitting around in reserve, and 2/3rds were not airworthy, maybe the same thing in this case.

Still, that is an awful lot of home-brews, 83 of them, and the 611 was so slow; 17 mph according to my information. Mobile strongpoints is about all they were.

I'll keep plugging away, and post what I find here.

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Re: Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby Phaing » 14 Sep 2017 06:15

I don't know how reliable it is, but this source says all of the AB-35 or 611-type were sent to East Africa -
http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/i ... AB-611.php

The bulk must have been in storage. This helps, but only a little. All but the 5 with 37mm guns would have to be set aside for internal security, and probably those too since they are just so slow. The other possibility is taking them along on a landing, at Aden.

All that I am trying to establish is that there were 60 armored cars that could be given to the Colonial units, 30 for internal security, and 3-dozen good enough to work with the regular army as real scout vehicles.
The hard part is finding anything about all the improvisations, and if they were the better machines...

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Re: Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby jwsleser » 14 Sep 2017 16:04

Thanks. I will take a look to see if my sources agree.

Pista! jeff
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Re: Italian East Africa vehicles... & frustration

Postby Phaing » 23 Sep 2017 17:17

jwsleser wrote:Thanks. I will take a look to see if my sources agree.

Pista! jeff


I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of the "Armored cars" there would have been the expedient kind... probably trucks with a semi-armored cab and a MG or cannon platform on the back. At Kufra in the spring of 1941, a few trucks with 20mm cannon did a good job of holding off Le Clerc's first few attempts to take that place.
However, one source is telling me that the Italian Army in IEO only had 24 x 20mm guns, and there were only enough 37mm guns to defend Massawa Harbor.

I also need to buy a good book on this Theater, probably at Amazon, can you recommend any?


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